Count Your Blessings – Adventures in Odyssey Gives Thanks

I went ahead and purchased a year subscription to the Odyssey Adventure Club, I have been able to gain access to all the episodes Adventures in Odyssey. In light of this I will list the top 6 Adventures In Odyssey episodes about thankfulness in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday that is coming up. So without further ado, let’s start the countdown.

 

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6. “Thanksgiving at Home” (Episode 132)

Things are not well in the Barclay household on Thanksgiving morning for Mr. and Mrs. Barclay are sick in bed. Donna and Jimmy take upon themselves to make preparations for their Thanksgiving feast with hilarious results. While it spends most of the time with Donna and Jimmy as they attempt to salvage their Thanksgiving, in end they come to realize how thankful they are for their mom and dad in light of their absence.

 

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5. “A Thanksgiving Carol” (Episode 173)

In an effort to educate people about the significance of the Thanksgiving holiday, Whit and the gang perform a KYDS Radio program entitled “A Thanksgiving Carol” inspired by (you guessed it) Charles Dicken’s classic novel A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Stooge has a cold heart towards everyone, even to his overworked clerk Bob Wretched. It takes the haunting of his late partner Jacob Arley and Terrance Clodbody the ghost of Thanksgiving past, present and future (only one ghost..budget cuts you know) to get him back into the spirit of Thanksgiving. This parody is on par with the others that AiO has done over the years and again is able to demonstrate the importance of thankfulness.

 

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4. “BTV: Thanks” (Episode 383)

Just like “BTV: Compassion” which I mentioned in this post “BTV: Thanks” uses a collection of sketches that illustrate the topic of thankfulness. Among these sketches they tell the story of how one the 10 lepers that were Jesus healed came back to thank him as well the story of King David’s demonstration of thankfulness at the return of the Ark of the Covenant. It is a great anthology of stories that can be humorous as well as meaningful.

 

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3. “A Thankstaking Story” (Episode 675)

The most recent episode on this list and it’s another parody like “A Thanksgiving Carol,” only this time “A Thankstaking Story” is a parody of Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas although it also has some inspiration from the Rankin & Bass Christmas specials too. Whit, Connie, Eugene, Wooton, Jay and his Uncle Wally are stuck in Whit’s End on Thanksgiving day due to heavy snow. In order to pass the time, they decide to make up a story about a grump named Srunch and his plans to ruin Thanksgiving for the Muglues. Once again it is a great parody and it much like the story it is parodying it demonstrates how Thanksgiving doesn’t come from a store.

 

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2. “Thank You, God” (Episode 49)

This was the very first Thanksgiving episode that just so happens to tell the story of how Whit accepted Christ. Whit decides to hold Thanksgiving dinner at Whit’s End and has invited Connie Kendall and her mother June along Tom Riley and with his wife Agnes. The Rileys have brought a boy named Rodney who has been staying with them due to family difficulties. When asked what he was thankful for, Rodney expresses that he finds little to be thankful for since his father’s work keeps from spending the holiday with him. In light of this Whit decides to express his thankfulness for his step mother Fionna Donneral who eventually lead him to the Lord.

 

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1.”In All Things Give Thanks” (Episode 41)

While this episode does not take place on Thanksgiving like the others did, it still demonstrates the importance thankfulness especially when life throws a curve ball. Everyone in the Mulligan family is having trouble from angry neighbors, to demeaning teachers and ill-tempered school bullies. But as the Mulligans learn from 1 Thessalonians 5:18, they are to give thanks in the midst of all circumstances whether good or bad because God is the one who ultimately in control and He works all things for good. This episode gives a practical application of thankfulness in everyday life, showing that giving thanks is not limited to just one day a year.

Well I hope you enjoyed reading list and I will see you all next time!

Dungeons & Dragons Review – S1 E2 “The Eye of Beholder”

I decided to continue watching Dungeon and Dragons TV series and needless to say it was an experience just like last time. Again the episode stats with its origin story intro which if they just made it longer would have been a proper pilot episode. Okay, I complained enough about that last time. Time to move on.

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Three writers worked on this…no joke just an observation.

The episode opens with the kids wandering through a desert again and under the light of four suns! Honestly how are they not dehydrated. Then we also figure out that they have not seen Dungeon Master for 2 days. Some guide he turned out to be! He leaves children to wander around in a desert with 4 suns in the sky without giving them directions or water. To make matters worse they come across and a giant scorpion and they all are forced to make a run for it.

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Thank you for saving us us even though we didn’t see you save us.

A rotund knight appears around the same time and ends up being trapped between the scorpion and a blue scaled dragon. But this is a good thing for both creatures become distracted from their prey as they decide to duel each other. The kids come out of cave they were hiding in and mistakingly believe that the knight had saved them, and of course he accepts their praise. After introducing himself as Sir John and exchanging pleasantries the knight goes on his way.

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Eric: “Why would you do that?” Dungeon Master: “I thought it would be funny.”

It is in this moment, Dungeon Master chooses to appear once again, scaring the crap out of Eric in the process. He gives the kids their new mission in which they need to defeat a monster known as the Beholder in order to return the valley it resides in, back to its natural beauty and an extra bonus is that it will open a portal so they can return home to the 1980s. Dungeon Master also explains that “Only beauty can beat the eye of the Beholder.” (Sigh) With a title like “Eye of the Beholder” I should have known where this was going to go.

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Would you please try to do your job?

We then switch focus to Sir John and he faces some unhappy townsfolk. It is confirmed that he is rather cowardly and the town is unsatisfied with his work. He is given one more chance to commit an act of bravery otherwise they will fire him and cast him from the village along with his son. I am guessing the reason for his hesitance to risk his life because he is a single father having to raise his son alone. This would be forgivable if was the first time, but as we are told they have been kicked out of other towns for the same reason. Seriously Sir John if you so bad at being a knight, maybe you should seek a new line of work that doesn’t involve risking your life.

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The image speaks for itself.

We return to our young heroes as they make their way to the Valley of the Beholder, but unfortunately they encounter “Snailmen” creatures who capture them and place them in bags. Uni the unicorn is the only one that escapes and he just so happens to bump into Sir John as he searching for some brave act to commit. Sir John is afraid go further and Uni has to force him to follow him come by snatching away his torch. By sheer luck they encounter the “Snailmen” and Sir John frantically waves his torch which scares them away (it was established before they are sensitive to light). Kids praise Sir John again (much to Uni’s chagrin) and Diana picks a flower and gives it to him as a symbol of their gratitude.

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Uni knows what’s up with Sir John.

The kids then ask him to help them find and face the Beholder, and Sir John of course is hesitant for it would require great bravery. They reply saying that he is the bravest person they have met since they have been in this world, which is ironic since we the audience know he is not. As they reach the valley Sir John decides to volunteer to scout ahead so he can gather his thoughts. Venger appears to him and using his son as leverage forces the knight to lead the kids an ambush so that he could take their magical items.

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Poor kid, to be the son of a secondary character and used as a pawn for the series’ villain to gain the main characters’ magical items of power…
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The Eye of the Beholder…no literally it is the eye of the Beholder.

Eric, who is getting more more suspicious, calls Sir John out when he says he is not joining them in their fight with the Beholder. But the knight still leaves and the kids are captured by the evil one eyed monster. Venger holds his end of bargain and gives Sir John his son back making the comment that his son is braver than him. However Sir John’s son inspires him to go back and save the young heroes. In the process it is discovered that the beauty of the flower that Diana gave to Sir John is the key to defeating the Beholder and at its defeat the portal back to Earth is opened.

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Drat my only weakness…BEAUTY!!!!

Despite being anxious to go back home, Bobby can’t bare to part with Uni. This hesitation is further amplified when Venger comes back to take his revenge on Sir John for betraying him and kids decide to stay behind to come to his aid. To Eric’s credit (being the spoiled prick of the group), he does come and help too even though he could have easily gone back home. In the end Venger retreats and the valley becomes beautiful. Before the episode closes Dungeon Master who is unseen by the kids scares Eric again when he attempts to sit down on a rock only to leap out of his skin at hearing an unexpected honk of a horn.

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Wow, Eric can be heroic if he stops acting like a jerk!
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Dungeon Master…more like Troll Master.

Again like last time this episode still very cheesy, but still not too bad. There was a good lesson about how not judging people by appearances, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There was some humorous moments especially between Eric and Dungeon Master as well Sir John and Uni. Maybe this series is getting to me despite myself. Anyway we’ll see what happens when I review the next episode. Thank you for reading.

Quirks VS Mutants – How My Hero Academia Differs From X-Men

I have written a review for season 1 of My Hero Academia on Fandom Factory, but I also wanted to write the supplementary piece on how the world of My Hero Academia is differs from the world of X-Men. On the surface they appear the same, genetically super-powered individuals that fight to save the world and have special schools to help train the next generation how to use their powers. However there are 2 differences that have a major impact on how the world views these superhumans.

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The first difference is the number of people who have powers. Mutants are in the extreme minority; I mean they are minority of minorities. Time to take a page from MatPat’s Film Theory to show just how few mutants there are in the X-Men universe. While very little is mentioned in the comics, cartoons or movies about their population, I was able to get a rough estimation thanks to the numbers mentioned in Sentinel Massacre of the mutant population of Genosha in Earth 616 which was estimated to be between 16 to 17 million. Since the source stated that more than half of the world known mutant population died in the massacre, I calculated that the mutant population at its height should have been at minimum 32 to 34 million.

While this may seem a big number just remember the population of United States alone as of this year (2016) is about 323 million. And when the calculations are all said and done out of the current world population of 7 billion, the mean of the known mutant population of Earth 616 is five hundredths of a percent (0.05%) when rounded up. In contrast in the very first episode of My Hero Academia we are told that quirk users make up 80% of the world’s population; that means 5 to 6 billion people are quirk users. That is a huge majority, in fact with those statistics it is more likely to be quick user in My Hero Academia than it is to be a mutant in X-Men.

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The second difference involves the average age in which an individual whether mutant or quirk user “receives” their powers. Mutants manifest their power during puberty (starting at age 13 or 14); it also can present at birth especially if their mutation has a physical effect on their bodies. Now there has been the stereotype that teenagers are impulsive and rebellious; combine that with superhuman abilities you have a recipe for prejudice and hatred. Teenagers are going through a lot already since they are transitioning to adulthood, but add superhuman abilities, which they don’t fully understand themselves and people persecuting them out of fear of what they could do, let’s just say they got more than they bargained for. The term mutant itself derives a negative connotation have towards individuals that have inhuman abilities (not to be confused with Marvel’s Inhumans…they are completely different from mutants). Needless to say it is not easy being a teenaged mutant in the world of X-Men.

In My Hero Academia it is a totally different story. The average age that a quirk user manifests their quirk is 4 years old or it can be present at birth like with mutants. People are less likely to view a young child with fear (unless they have paedophobia…trust me it’s a real phobia), plus with an 80% chance of them or someone they know developing a superhuman ability, they are not going to look at anyone as a threat much less themselves. Even the term they use to refer to their powers, quirks, signifies the causal acceptance of these unique traits that just so happen to be superpowers. Plus discovering that ability at such a young age gives more time for them to learn more about their quirks and to control them better by the time they reach adolescence.

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In the end those despite the differences that create a world that rejects superhumans and one that embraces them, both worlds still have discrimination. In X-Men, the prejudice is directed towards mutants because they are different from the norm and are feared because the power they have. This much is obvious and very familiar from the ardent comic book reader to the causal moviegoer. However, in My Hero Academia it is those without a quirk or the quirkless, as they are sometimes called, who are viewed in the negative light.

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Based on my observations from the first season, I gathered the main character Izuku Midoriya was teased and bullied in the classroom of a public Japanese middle school just because he didn’t have quirk. While we see no cases outside of Midoriya, from we do see the bullying he experiences by his classmate Katsuki Bakugou goes unchallenged by the other students and more importantly the teachers. Now this could be an isolated occurrence, but even so it gives the impression that bullying of people who are quirkless is condoned at Midoriya’s middle school. Or it could insecure teenagers picking other insecure teenager but instead of picking on them for their height or braces they’re picked on for not having a quirk.

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Whatever the case maybe, no should be treated any lesser just because they are different. As a Christians we are called to love everyone regardless of their appearance or background and there are a number of passages in the Bible that address this. In James 2:1-5, it explains why no one should exhibit favoritism:

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?”

It is so easy to discriminate, whether be it race, gender, status, weight, height…you name it there is a prejudice for it. It’s because as fallen individuals we feel to need to put others down to make ourselves feel better. We judge people from the outside and forget what is inside. But this is not how God sees the world and this thought elaborated in the Old Testament passage in I Samuel 16:7:

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected them. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ ”

Regardless what’s visible on the outside, what ultimately matters in is our hearts. What do our hearts reflect? Is it hatred towards those who we deem different from us, or is it love towards our fellow human beings?